Kaftan Analysis

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In the Islamic Middle East section, Victoria and Albert Museum, I found three beautiful kaftans. From the collection, I chose this kaftan (right picture). I am going to talk about who wore this kaftan and what story the kaftan has in the 16th century in the paragraph two. In the paragraph three, I am going to mention about what kind of fabric showed status, and then I'll explore more about the status that this kaftan tells us in the paragraph four. Figure1 Princes' Kaftans from Ottoman Turkey, V&A museum According to V&A (no date), this kaftan was worn by a 19 years-old son of the Sultan Murat III in the 16th century, Turkey. It was made of woven silk and gold or silver wrapped…show more content…
It was a flourished era of Ottoman Empire in Turkey. Especially, the Sultan Murat III had highly interested in art (The art of Turkish textile). He often wore white and yellow kaftans as well. So that they told rich people apart, they often used geometric motifs. The motifs were inspired by the organic object, for instance, the sun, stars, fish, flowers and water then they developed from those objects to geometric shape by using such as circles, squares, triangles and hexagonal. (Yanni, 1982) It sometimes based on the Quran. They indeed liked using Islamic symbol as a pattern on the kaftans, architects and ceramics. There were two symbols that we could see frequently. The one was Rub el Hizb, and the other was roundness motif which doesn't have a name. The kaftan that I chose from V&A has been used Rub el Hizb. Its feature is that "The Rub el Hizb is formed by two overlapping squares with one square titled over the other to make an eight-vertex, star-shaped geometrical figure (Hann, 2013). The symbol often has a small circle in the middle (Ancient-Symbols.com, no date). They still used in Arabic calligraphy that is the end of each paragraph; moreover, it has been used in the Quran as well. In Arabic, "Rub" means a quarter and 'Hizb" means a group or a party. Apparently, "Rub el Hizb" might be "divided into quarters" (Ancient Symbol.com, no date) in English. Roundness motif doesn't seem to have certain meaning though it could be a representation of the sun apparently. Furthermore, water, fish and ship were popular motifs in the Ottoman era. Especially, Water was often used as a motif because they thought the water was a mystery of life, having a power of creation. The fish also famous symbol in Turkey. "Occasionally a fish is interpreted as the emblem of the soul, a spiritual searcher or as the preserver of life (Ham, 2013: 189)." They had valued the

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